I love reading The Sunday Salon posts, they are often so relaxing and offer a glimpse of life behind the curtain of book reviews and stat-tracking. I tried to convince myself that it was not the best use of my time to begin a new project one week before my vacation, when there are so many other things needing to be done, but I didn't listen. Spending some time sipping tea, surrounded by books, and putting everything into perspective sounds like the perfect way to spend part of my Sunday.
I started my book blog at the end of 2008 as a way to track my reading life without inundating my family blog, but I didn't really join the book blogging community until last June. As you all know, this is one fabulous group of people, and the time I spend blogging and visiting remains a rewarding addition to my life. In the 9 months or so since I decided to put more effort into my blog, my blogging style has gone (and continues to go) through changes. Sometimes these changes are spurred by an imbalance somewhere--type and quantity of reading, type and quantity of blog posts--but sometimes they are spurred by something I've read in a book or on a blog, something that makes me consider what I'm doing from a different angle.
Reviewing books in a blog format, just for the joy of sharing bookish thoughts and starting bookish conversations, is different than writing book reviews in a less personal way, as a means to building a career in the industry. Depending on your style, involvement, and platform, this may be a fine line...but I think it is one worth exploring. Reading The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing (a title which bugs me every time I think it, say it, type it, read it, type it...what is slippery? books aren't slippery, nor are reviews, nor even [most] art. I don't like the idea of slippery-ness. What are we sliding into? Away from? Ugh.) has made me reconsider again, my approach to writing book reviews.
In the past I think I've tended towards maintaining a professionalism in my reviews, striving for nicely constructed sentences and fulfilling prose, often sacrificing strong opinions, humor or passion in the process. The [er...] Art of Book Reviewing has helped me to realize that I am not interested in making a career of book reviewing. I want to read what I choose to read, and I want to be able to chat about it. Why it took me so long to realize this, or why it was a fairly simple book that brought me to the realization, I have no idea. I liked that the book showed that writing short reviews or long reviews is a matter of taste, on the part of the one reading it, the one writing it, and the one publishing it. I prefer shorter reviews, and have occasionally felt inferior because of it--no more!!
This book also touches on book blogging, and includes resources for becoming more involved in book reviewing professionally, both things I appreciated. If you are interested in some of the how's and why's behind book reviews, this book is worth a read. Maybe you'll even get lucky like me and come away with a bit of perspective as well. Is it ironic that the post in which I talk about my preference for short reviews happens to be a post of some length?
The week ahead, my last week home before my Ireland trip, (a place I've wanted to visit for such a long time,) is all about organization. My thoughts, my house, my suitcase, etc. I'm hoping to be able too continue to spend some time here in the off moments, but I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that my time and internet will be limited. It's reassuring to know that when April rolls around, and my life resumes some semblance of normality for a while, you will all still be around, ready to talk books. Here's to a productive week!
Title: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
Author: Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards
Published: 2008 Twilight Times Books
My Rating: 3 stars